--:-- • --:--Пример экскурсии
You are on Preobrazhenskaya square now. All of its central part is occupied with the five-dome Spaso-Preobrazhensky Cathedral.
Its harmonic and classic proportions are more marvelous because architect Vassily Stasov had to build it using walls of an old baroque temple, which suffered during a big fire.
In the mid of the C18th, there used to be the Staff of the Preobrazhensky Regiment’s Grenadier Company in place of the Spaso-Preobrazhensky Cathedral. On a cold night of November 24/25, 1741, a sledge came to the staff building. 32 year-old Princess Elizabeth and her friends the Count Vorontsov, the Leib-Medic Lestok and Shuvalov Brothers got off the sledge. The Preobrazhensky soldiers loved Elizabeth. They still remembered her father, the Emperor Peter the Great, who they won a lot of great victories with. The Princess often visited the Regiment, gave her gifts, made celebrations, baptized children of soldiers and officers. On that night, she was dressed in green uniform of the Preobrazhensky Regiment. And this men’s suit, we should say, was a good fit for the beautiful Princess.
-“They want to put me in a convent. Are you ready to defend
me?” – she addressed to the soldiers.
In reply they cried out:
-We are ready! We are ready to die for Tsar Peter’s
Together with loyal Preobrazhensky soldiers, Elizabeth took off to the Winter Palace. On the Admiralty Square, she got off the sledge and walked on her foot, but they sank into the snow. Then, the soldiers raised and carried her on their hands. Knowing the password, the Preobrazhensky soldiers easily entered the Winter Palace. Watch guards let the soldiers disarm them without resistance. Elizabeth went up to a bedroom where Ivan Antonovich, a year –old Emperor was sleeping. The child woke up, smiled and stretched his arm to the one, who just took his crown away from him. The Preobrazhensky soldiers blocked all the ways in and out. By the next morning, the infant Emperor and his mother-warden Anna Leopoldovna, were shut up in a fortress and the Princess Elizabeth had become the Empress Elizabeth Petrovna.
Then, there was a time for rewards. All the soldiers of the Preobrazhensky Regiment, who took their part in the coup d’etat, were given nobility and land lots. And, in place of the staff of the Guards Company, they built the Spaso-Preobrazhensky Cathedral. Since then and up to December 1917, when General Kutepov dissolved the Preobrazhensky Regiment, the Cathedral served the soldiers as a church. Shoulder to shoulder, like to a combat, the soldiers marched to the Cathedral for prayers.
The square before the Cathedral was laid out by a project of the same architect Stasov. Please note that it is surrounded with a fence made of bronze barrels of Turkish cannons taken during the battlefields of the Russian-Turkey War of 1828-1829. Initially, the Emperor Nicholas the First gave these canons to Poland for memorial of King Vladislav, who was perished with all of his troops at the Turkish city of Varna, but the Poles turned them against the Russian Army during the uprising in 1831. The canons were taken back during the battle for the second time and given to the Russian Guards. Their barrels are installed facing down as a sign that they would never fire again. A while ago, other trophies of war, the Regiment’s banners and uniforms of the Russian Emperors, who were its patrons, were stored inside of the temple.
After the Revolution, all these things were given to the Petersburg Museum of Artillery. During Soviet times, a lot of icons and valuable church ware was taken from the temple. However, the Cathedral did not ever shut down. Today, its main relic is the favorite icon of Peter the Great called “The Holy Savior”, which was given to him from mother. This image accompanied the Tsar during laying down of Petersburg, the Poltava Battle, his death and his burial service.
Before the Revolution, boards with lists of all officers of the Regiment, killed in action, were hanging on the walls of the temple. The cream of the Russian noble society served in the Preobrazhensky Regiment. Moreover, just a well-known name would not be enough to serve there. It was necessary to have a spotless reputation. When enlisted, an officer ordered a kitchen silverware from the best jewelers of the capital. They were made by a single regiment standard with engraved name and last name. When the officer retired, his silverware remained at the Regiment as a symbol of the Regiment’s brotherhood. However, if the officer was terminated from the Regiment with disgrace, he was given his silverware back.
By an unwritten law, an Officer of the Preobrazhensky Regiment could not attend second best restaurants, take the first class train compartments and sit at the theatre farther than the seventh row. Even his personal life was regulated. Getting married before 23 was inappropriate, and he had to get permission for his marriage from the Emperor himself.
During the centuries of Empire St. Petersburg was a grand city with ceremonial buildings, rich and pompous palaces. Even today St. Petersburg can boast a huge number of palaces, including some of the grandest residences not just in Russia, but in the whole of Europe.
Our audio guide will take you to the most famous palaces and Grand residences of St. Petersburg. We can start with the Tauride Palace and Garden, one of the largest and most historic complexes in Russia. This palace was designed for Grigory Potemkin in a rigorous Palladian style. In the 19th century, the palace was transformed into a residence for minor royalty. It had been used to host balls and exhibitions until 1906, when it was given as a seat of the first Russian parliament, the Imperial State Duma.
You will also hear the history of the Winter Palace, the most prominent palace in Russia. The Winter Palace not only physically dominates Palace Square and the south embankment of the Neva River, but also plays a central political, symbolic, and cultural role in the three-century history of the city. It was declared part of the State Hermitage Museum on 17 October 1917. Now the Winter Palace, the Hermitage and all historical landmarks of St. Petersburg are enlisted by the UNESCO.
Another famous building is Anichkov Palace located next to Anichkov Bridge across the Fontanka River. It’s one of the oldest buildings on Nevsky Prospect commissioned by Empress Elizabeth in 1741. When the palace was completed she presented it to Aleksey Razumovsky, her favourite and unofficial spouse.
Mariinsky Palace, the last neoclassical imperial palace to be constructed in Saint Petersburg, was built between 1839 and 1844 by the court architect Andrei Stackensneider. The palace stands on the south side of St Isaac's Square, just across the 99-metre-wide Blue Bridge from Saint Isaac's Cathedral. The palace was conceived by Emperor Nicholas I as a wedding present to his daughter Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaevna.
During the tour you will also see the houses and mansions of famous court and military people: The House of Saltykov, The Marble Palace, The Vladimir Palace, The Mikhailovsky Castle, The Novo-Mikhailovsky Palace, The House of Gagarin, etc. Each building has its own history sometimes dramatic.
Take a walk in the Summer Garden. It was founded in 1704 by order of Peter the Great, who was personally involved in planning it, and is laid out according to strict geometrical principles. The Summer Garden is home to marble statues acquired from Europe especially for Russia's new capital, and also to rare flowers and plants, as well as fountains.
The Field of Mars, not far from the Summer Garden, has a long and varied history dating back to the very beginning of the city's history. You will listen to it while walking. To your attention will also be the stories and legends of The First Engineer Bridge, The Salt City, The Building of Senate and Synod, The Isakievsky Cathedral, The Petropavlovsk Fortress.
With audio visual materials you will also get a map that won’t let you lose your way.